Ama will be going back to the USA soon and we are so grateful for all her work. Here is what she had to say about her time with us:

I came to IARS with high expectations. Looking back at my time here, all these expectations and more have been met.

First and foremost, I never felt like an intern at IARS. I have heard stories from friends and colleagues about how they never do anything professional at their internships. All they do is run errands and do the odd jobs at the office. IARS is unlike all these other places. Every intern and volunteer is heavily involved in the projects they are assigned to.

Throughout my time here, I have worked extensively with my research supervisor, Maija Linnala, on the PROChild Project. I remember how confused I was the first time Maija tried to explain the project to me and what my tasks would be. I was very doubtful that I would be able to do anything accurately. However, Maija was very patient with me and answered every question I had. She made me feel comfortable enough to fail and try again. More importantly, she gave me the confidence to believe in my writing abilities and to work on tasks I would have never ventured.

IARS celebrates your achievements, no matter how small they might seem. Recalling the first time my article was uploaded on the PROChild website still gives me tiny jitters. I kept reloading and refreshing the page over and over again because I could not believe my eyes. With laughter in her eyes and a smile on her face, my communications supervisor, Romina Lopez applauded. Maija encouraged me to send the link to everyone I could. I sent the link to my professors, friends and family back home. Up-to-date, the publishing of my first article has been the most profound moment in my professional endeavors.

Furthermore, Romina also gave me the opportunity of writing about Youth Radicalization for the European Youth Portal and the 99% Campaign Magazine. Romina encourages you to dig deeper for answers to write the most informed article ever. She is a tough critic who pushes you to be the best in whatever task you have been assigned.

Nonetheless, my days at IARS have not just been easy days. This internship challenges you outside your comfort zone. Before interning at IARS, I would say, “I am a Word document type of girl, not an Excel girl!” However, IARS has made me into an Excel girl. From creating social media rosters for PROChild partners to analyzing survey data for YEIP, I have been challenged with new tasks every week. I have learned how to schedule daily posts for Facebook and twitter as well.

Finally, IARS is a close-knit family and there is vibrancy in the conversation each and every day. They do not just care about you as an employee, but also as a person. All the associates chip in to help you understand a specific task and are not hesitant to demonstrate. At the end of the day, the supervisors thank you for your work. This appreciative spirit makes you want to give back and you never feel under-appreciated.

As I look back at my days here and reflect on this internship as I leave London, I am glad for everything I have achieved at IARS. This internship was the best stepping stone for my career development.

Thank you IARS.